📺 Season two of Slow Horses: even better than the first! But with better time management we didn’t have to stay up past midnight this time around.

Side note — it is always nice to see ex-Yu actors playing the Soviets, even though a BCS accent can hardly pass for Russian.

Finished reading: Whole Earth Discipline by Stewart Brand 📚

Funny that a book about our entire planet would present the best case for localism outside of Nassim Taleb’s work — I must try to replicate his situational awareness survey in a separate post (select questions: Where is North? What are the 5 most common native birds where you live? Which ones are migratory? How far down do you need to drill to get to water? etc.) The case for why nuclear energy may be preferable to renewables is also strong.

It does, however, endorse some decidedly un-talebian techniques like transgenic crops and glyphosate pesticides. As with any speculative nonfiction, x% will be trash, and as time passes more and more will be revealed as such.

🍿 The Hound of the Baskervilles has had many shots at the silver screen, but the 1988 version made for the tube and starring the canonical Sherlock Holmes is yet to be topped — even with Brett being visibly bloated and sluggish from the lithium he started taking the year before.

A one-two punch today for the journal Science, which while not at the very top of my to-read publications is still the “S” in CNS and therefore, I guess, important.

Punch one: trying to be more woke than the Pope; punch two: actually being — and this should come as no surprise — quite bigotted in practice. Want to submit a paper from your gmail address, you foreigner? Off with yer head.

NB: I do think small-s-science has a noise problem and have written as much. But has playing whack-a-mole ever been a good solution for anything? Or should we change incentives by removing publication count as requirement for promotion in academia and — even more importantly — clinical medicine?

As two of our three offspring lay in bed with fevers, a thought comes to mind: could covid have caused this never-ending chain of infections which began last fall, during which a week rarely goes by in which no one misses at least one day of school because of illness? Has it destroyed our immune systems, made us more susceptible to other infectious diseases? There is, after all, no end to articles in press both professional and lay which warn of long-term effects of SARS-CoV-2 on various lymphocyte subsets.

Well, no. Or at least highly unlikely. A 5-person household with three school-aged children will have one respiratory virus or another circulate a full two thirds of the year. With our youngest starting PK3 last fall, we have become that household, and 65% sounds about right.

Woe to us and anyone who visits our little Petri dish.

Project Tailwind — Google’s answers to DEVONthink, Obsidian/Roam, and ChatGPT rolled into one — has the potential to be the best thing that has happened to academic research in decades. Of course, coming from Google, I fully expect it to be gone and forgotten in a year or so.

On the topic of firsts, here is my first Tweet, linking to a rather funny New Yorker article.

It garnered exactly one “like”, from — and this is where my trip to the archives took a dark turn — someone who is no longer with us. So it goes…

Revisiting AOL Hell

The first article I ever saved to Instapaper — 11 years ago, three years after it was created and quite some time before it turned into my personal graveyard of text — was AOL Hell from the now defunct The Faster Times The link is to the Wikipedia entry which, strangely, says that as of February 2018 the url belonged to someone in Serbia. An odd coincidence.. The titular hell is the one AOL created for the employees producing content for its text mill.

Continue reading →

My decoupling from Twitter continues, with all of the 9K+ tweets now available on micro.blog. What use they could possibly have, I will leave as an exercise to the reader.

And in some positive news — can you imagine those still exist? — the US Food and Drug Agency has issued their draft guidance on decentralized trials (PDF download). America is playing catch-up with the UK in this regard, but better late than never!